Tuesday, June 04, 2013
OY, the Apartheid
Posted By Steven Plaut On June 5, 2013
Superland is Israel's closest thing to Knott's Berry Farm or similar amusement parks with digestion-challenging roller coasters to be found on other continents. You can read about it here.
The park suddenly found itself on the hit list of the Caring Left when it turned out that occasionally it was holding "closed group days" in the park, where the park would not be open to the general public. And some of these "closed group days" would be for Arabs only, for Jews only, or for other specific groups, such as Ultra-Orthodox chareidim.
The caring Left blew its gasket. Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in Hebrew, ran several editorials and Op-Eds screaming about this display of "apartheid" in Israel. RACISTLAND! was the title of an article printed in the other leftist Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronot. The foreign anti-Semites quickly picked up on all the leftist Israeli chatter about "Superland apartheid" to prove once again how racist Israel is.
So what gives? First, it is pretty clear that Superland simply wanted to hold special days when the hordes of teenagers that fill the amusement park would be from specific groups and thus make sure there would be no tensions or conflicts on ethnic grounds among those teenagers, such as those caused by a Jewish male speaking with an Arab female. There have been many incidents in which Jewish and Arab teenagers clashed in the park. Management just wanted a way to avoid this. There are special days in other recreational facilities in Israel, such as special beaches that cater to the religious or that hold men-only and women-only hours. The swimming pool at the Technion holds a few men-only and women-only hours a week, partly designed for the Orthodox, and no one thinks there is anything wrong with that.
Second, my guess is that Superland naively presumed that no one would see anything wrong with its holding such "separate but equal days." The original objections to the "separate but equal" doctrine in the US regarding schools was the presumption that separate by definition could not be equal, and that was the intellectual basis behind things like school busing. But the roller coasters at Superland are just as upsetting to the stomach when they hold an Arabs Day as when they hold a Jews Day or Orthodox Day. Indeed, my guess is that Superland thought they were being extra considerate of Arabs by allowing them to have their own day in the park without any chance of Jewish men hitting on Arab women.
If so, the managers of the park guessed wrong. The media in Israel have been having a field day over such "racism." Netanyahu himself has taken to the bully pulpit to denounce Superland. The Hate-Israel Left has been having a field day in demonizing Israel. The Huffington Post, which does not have separate but equal days for non-leftists in its web site, chimed in. A Saudi newspaper insisted that Israel was excluding Arabs from the park. It forgot to mention the Arabs-only days at the park, and also forgot to mention that Jews may not enter Saudi Arabia at all. In any case, after several days of issuing denials that there was anything racist in its policies, but grossly embarrassed, Superland announced they would end the separate days.
Now none of the people expressing moral indignity over the "separate but equal" days at Superland expressed any misgivings when Ben Gurion University opened an Arabs-only academic program in psychology (see this). BGU also has some programs from which men are barred from participating (see this). None have expressed any indignation over the separate but unequal policies of conscripting Jews to the military in Israel while exempting Arabs. Nor to the myriad special study programs in Israeli universities for the Chareidim. For example, there is an interesting special MBA program for Chareidim only taught at the Carmel Community College in Haifa. Men and women attend separate classes. I have been think of teaching in it for a while but have been lazy. So unfortunately I cannot yet be accused of participating in "apartheid."
And the very same people posturing their indignity over Superland's "racism" have never had anything to say about the fact the "Palestinians" and their amen chorus in the Israeli Left insist that the "Palestinians" be granted the right to have their own judenrein state from which Jews are prohibited altogether, or that Jews be barred from buying or living in various neighborhoods in Jerusalem that the Left regards as "Arab." How about the fact that Arab terrorists only target Jews and not Arabs? Or that Jews are not allowed to purchase property or even enter most Arab and Moslem states? That is not even "separate but equal" treatment! There have also been no complaints by the Caring Left about the double standards in Israel's pro-Arab affirmative action policies, where standards for admission to universities or for civil service jobs are dumbed down for Arabs (and women).
Superland is now open to other accusations of racism. After all, one of its rides is the "Congo Experience," which clearly demeans Africans. It also has a Grand Canyon Indian ride, which clearly is insensitive to the Navajo. Some of the rides allow kids to shoot toy dart guns at targets, obviously fanning the flames of gun violence. So the very same bleeding hearts who have never found the time to condemn Arab suicide bombing attacks against Israeli school buses and cafes have their hands filled now battling against Superland apartheid.